Early Childhood Education (PreK-2), BSE

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In Short

If you are interested in becoming a teacher, we have the program you need. The university has a rich tradition of teacher education.

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Program Overview

Students within the early childhood education concentration may pursue initial teacher licensure as an early childhood teacher (PreK-2) by completing an early childhood education major. In this concentration students will learn the theory, research, and pedagogy necessary to teach young children through the early childhood education major and develop interdisciplinary studies content knowledge through their general education coursework.

Throughout the program of study, students will complete several field-based experiences in early childhood education public school settings, which will be supervised by mentor teachers and university faculty supervisors. These field-based experiences will provide students with opportunities to observe and participate in early childhood instruction that incorporates what students are learning in their educational pedagogy classes, as well as what they are learning in their general education courses. Students will complete a formal practicum for their early childhood education major as required for initial teacher licensure. This program meets the standards of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

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Education 4+1 Program

Complete a 4 Year Bachelor’s Degree and License in... Early Childhood Education PreK-2    

Complete a 1 year M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching and add a License in... Elementary Education 1-6 OR Moderate Disabilities PreK-8

  • Guaranteed admission into the graduate program for students who maintain their academic standing and meet admission qualifications.  
  • Students must pass all required MTELs and successfully complete the practicum in order to earn the initial license. This will automatically make them eligible for the 4+1 program
  • Students in this program can begin their graduate coursework in the semester immediately following completion of their bachelor's degree and have a seamless transition from their undergraduate to graduate program. 
  • Application
  • Although students complete 4+1 program application at any point up to the practicum, they will still need to apply to the M.Ed. Curriculum and Teaching program. The fee, letters of recommendation, and essay are waived.

Experiential Opportunities and a Look Inside the Courses


The purpose of the student teaching practicum/internship is to provide candidates who have reached the teacher candidacy stage of their academic programs with hands-on experience in an approved school setting.
Read more about: Practicum

Study Abroad

Faculty-led study abroad course opportunities also increase student life-transforming experiences, as do student/faculty cooperative research projects.
Read more about: Study Abroad

Investigations in Science and Social Studies in Early Childhood Education

After reading A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry which is about the Nashua River river shed,  Professor Lyndsey Benharris brought her students to a section of the Nashua River that runs by campus to collect samples. 
Read more about: Investigations in Science and Social Studies in Early Childhood Education

Curriculum and Other Information

All Teacher Candidates will meet the following Professional Standards for Teachers:

(1) Curriculum, Planning, and Assessment standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students by providing high quality and coherent instruction, designing and administering authentic and meaningful student assessments, analyzing student performance and growth data, using this data to improve instruction, providing students with constructive feedback on an on-going basis, and continuously refining learning objectives.

(2) Teaching All Students standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through instructional practices that establish high expectations, create a safe and effective classroom environment, and demonstrate cultural proficiency.

(3) Family and Community Engagement standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through effective partnerships with families, caregivers, community members, and organizations.

(4) Professional Culture standard: Promotes the learning and growth of all students through ethical, culturally proficient, skilled, and collaborative practice.

Teacher candidates from Fitchburg State University will demonstrate the knowledge and skills required for their license including the following subject-matter knowledge standards:

a. Support the integration of standards for literacy across the content areas as outlined in the 2017 ELA/Literacy Framework. 

b. Apply basic principles and concepts for digital literacy and computer science in Computing and Society, Digital Tools and Collaboration, and Computing Systems as outlined in the 2016 Digital Literacy Computer Science Framework. 

c. Apply the theories of cognitive, social, emotional, language, and physical development from childhood through adolescence. 

d. Understand the characteristics and instructional implications of moderately and severely disabling conditions. 

e. Apply special education policies and procedures. 

f. Support English learners through English learner education instruction. 

In addition to the standards above, each program has specific subject-matter knowledge standards that teacher candidates must meet.

Early Childhood Prek-2: 

Knowledge of the significant theories, approaches, practices, and programs for developing reading skills and reading comprehension:

  1. Current research-based theories and practices for developing proficient and strategic readers; familiarity with programs and approaches for teaching literacy/reading.
  2. Principles and research-based instructional practices for developing proficient readers (phonics and word recognition, vocabulary, reading fluency, comprehension, and the reading-writing connection).
  3. Theories, research, and instructional practices for supporting readers with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, strengths, and challenges.
  4. Knowledge of reading standards as outlined in the 2017 ELA/Literacy Curriculum Framework: reading for key ideas and details, craft and structure, integration of knowledge and ideas, and range of reading and text complexity.
  • Instructional practices for supporting comprehension in a variety of genres and content areas.
  • Knowledge of selection criteria for classroom literary and informational texts.

Principles and research-based instructional practices for developing emergent reader skills (alphabetic principle, concepts of print, phonological and phonemic awareness).

  1. Phonemic awareness and phonics; principles, knowledge, and instructional practices.
  2. Use of assessment for instruction and intervention.
  3. Knowledge of a variety of formal and informal reading assessment tools.
  4. Use of data from screening, diagnostic, and formative assessments to identify individual strengths and weaknesses and to differentiate instruction (prepare mini-lessons, select appropriate materials, form flexible groups).
  5. Knowledge of Response to Intervention models/components, including tiered instruction, shared responsibility and decision-making, research-based interventions, and progress monitoring.
  • Diagnosis and assessment of reading skills using standardized, criterion- referenced, and informal assessment instruments.

Teacher candidates must demonstrate the necessary depth and breadth of content knowledge needed to support all students in mastering expectations outlined in the following Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks:

2017 English Language Arts(ELA)/Literacy Framework:
Grades Pre-K—4

2017 Mathematics Curriculum Framework:
Grades Pre-K—4

2016 Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) Curriculum Framework:
Grades Pre-K—4

2018 History and Social Science Framework:
Grades Pre-K—4

  • Childcare Center Director
  • Childcare Worker
  • Kindergarten/Elementary School Teacher
  • Nanny
  • Preschool Teacher
  • Teacher/Educator